Typically, 20-plus significant strikes from Anthony Johnson are enough to put away anybody in the world.
Saturday night at UFC 187, “Rumble” knew that wasn’t enough in his quest to become light heavyweight champion against Daniel Cormier.
After failing to capitalize on his strong offensive start, Johnson succumbed to a rear-naked choke in the third round, seeing his title hopes and win streak snapped in the process.
“I might have lost, but the one thing I want you to remember is you should never give up,” said Johnson, who put the belt around Cormier’s waist. “I was pushed down to the bottom and worked my way to the top. No matter what comes your way, never give up, keep pushing.”
After an exit from the UFC following a loss to Vitor Belfort and several missed weigh-ins, Johnson fought to gain acceptance back into the promotion. He returned on short notice, stepping up to face Phil Davis.
Following wins over Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and a finish vs. Alexander Gustafsson, he earned his place as the No. 1 contender.
“Daniel is a beast,” he said. “Nothing was different. He did everything I thought he would do. He talked a lot, but he backed it up. He was the better man.”